A short hike from the northeast shore of the Salton Sea leads to six small caves that are actually inhabited by bats.

After parking at the abandoned Cafe in Durmid (ghost town), I crossed the highway and made my way through this pipe that was located underneath the railroad tracks. You can actually walk over the train tracks but I preferred something a little more off the beaten path.

After parking at the abandoned Cafe in Durmid (ghost town), I crossed the highway and made my way through this pipe that was located underneath the railroad tracks. You can actually walk over the train tracks but that just wouldn’t cut it for me. The hike to the Buttes is approximately 1 to 1.5 miles each way, depending on how much you want to explore once you get to the Buttes.

The buttes were formed when the San Andreas Fault forced strata layers upward. The caves are actually voids in the strata which occur naturally when weaker layers crumble from between harder layers.

The Buttes were formed when the San Andreas Fault forced strata layers upward. The caves are actually voids in the strata which occur naturally when weaker layers crumble from between harder layers.

The Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when Colorado River flood flows breached an irrigation diversion structure and temporarily flowed into the then-dry Salton Sink. The present sea is only the latest in a succession of waterbodies occupying the Salton Sink. The sink was once part of the Gulf of California in the distant geologic past. As the Colorado River and its tributaries carved out the Grand Canyon and incised channels in the upper river basin, enormous quantities of sediment were carried downstream to the river's mouth. These sediments eventually created a drainage divide, located near present-day Yuma, Arizona that cut off the Salton Sink from the gulf. The Colorado River periodically alternated its flow between the sink and the gulf following creation of the drainage divide. As the river channel meandered across a broad expanse of deltaic sediment deposits, high flow events sometimes overtopped the sediments and established new distributaries toward the north. The prehistoric waterbody known as Lake Cahuilla was created when these distributaries flowed into the Salton Sink. The lake, which at its greatest extent stretched from Mexico into the Coachella Valley, eventually evaporated when Colorado River flows returned to the gulf. Lake Cahuilla filled the Salton Sink on several occasions, with a major highstand occurring in the 1500s. Colorado River floodwaters continued to reach the sink after that time, including into the 1800s. However, today's extensive system of upstream water development and control projects in the Colorado River Basin prevent the river from returning to the sink.

The Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when Colorado River flood flows breached an irrigation diversion structure and temporarily flowed into the then-dry Salton Sink. It is possible that the churning water may have been partially responsible for collapsing weaker sections of strata, creating the voids. The present sea is only the latest in a succession of waterbodies occupying the Salton Sink. The sink was once part of the Gulf of California in the distant geologic past. As the Colorado River and its tributaries carved out the Grand Canyon and incised channels in the upper river basin, enormous quantities of sediment were carried downstream to the river’s mouth. These sediments eventually created a drainage divide, located near present-day Yuma, Arizona that cut off the Salton Sink from the gulf.

he butte was rising one millimeter per year until the Landers Earthquake on June 28, 1992. This quake relieved the stress on this particular geological feature, and it has moved only slightly since then. It is likely that movement will increase as stresses increase over time in the region.

The butte was rising one millimeter per year until the Landers Earthquake in 1992. This quake relieved the stress on this particular geological feature, and it has moved only slightly since then.

85 feet above the desert floor, and some 300 feet above the Salton Sea’s current surface level

A hike to the top of the butte will take you 85 feet above the desert floor, and some 300 feet above the Salton Sea’s current surface level.

These are not deep caves but you can comfortably walk into most of them. I was able to identify the presence of bats in two of the caves. Even though bats are known to be strictly nocturnaTownsend’s Big-Eared Bat (Considered endangered and protected), Mouse Eared Bat

These are not deep caves but you can comfortably walk into most of them. I was able to identify the presence of bats in two of the caves. Townsend’s Big-Eared Bats (Considered endangered and protected) and Mouse Eared Bats are known to occupy the area.

there is a small area at the southeast end of the butte, where one can crouch and pass completely through, emerging on the other side.

Butte Eye

A strange memorial located at the top of one of the caves.

I actually found this strange memorial affixed to the top of one of the caves. I was able to verify their names, birth and death dates online but everything else is a mystery. Were they brother and sister? Husband and wife? Was this cave special to them in some way? I wish I knew the whole story.

Bye Bat Cave Buttes.

Bye Bat Cave Buttes.